counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

September 4th, 2008: Sangam

@la villette

This third evening is the only “regular” jazz gig I’ll be attending in this year’s festival. It’s less a matter of taste than of an eclectic programming with many exciting stuff. I’m happy with that particular pick anyway. I admit it was a bit tame for me, but the sheer talent made up for that.

Sangam is a trio with Charles Lloyd on many things, Zakir Hussain on tablas and Eric Harland on drums and piano. Saying that each of them is very good is kind of a duh statement. Lloyd introduced Hussain as a tabla master, and that’s an accurate though incomplete description because he also did pretty amazing stuff with other kind of percussions. Eric Harland’s play sounded a bit too crisp for me, but that’s really a matter of taste and he’s extremely good in his own style; he never overdid his part, even during his solo section, which was a blast. I have to say I’m still recovering from hearing Tom Rainey earlier this year and that’s making me too close-minded when it comes to drummers. Charles Lloyd himself had a smoothness to his play that really impressed me. I’d say I was not so fond of his piano playing — I actually liked Harland better in that department — but at the other end his flute playing pretty much reconciled me with that instrument in a jazz setting — some acclaimed guy had made me so wary just seeing that flute made me cringe, here’s hoping I’m cured of that Magic curse. And he left a lot of room to the others, often sitting in the back, which is something I always appreciate in a leader. The trio worked very well, a balanced mix of virtuosity, steadiness and smoothness.

I probably would have liked some roughness or surprises, but I’m not going to complain when they played close to two hours and I really liked most of it. I’m so unfamiliar with that kind of music, it was a step forward for me. As usual, hearing it live brought me more than records could ever do. It’s probably telling that Hussain was the one whose play was the least interesting to me: he’s probably the best tablas player I ever heard, but his style was also the most familiar. There’s so much music out there I don’t even have the slightest clue about. I find that quite uplifting.

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September 6, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , ,

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